Federal Call for Tourism Vaccine Unit | Liverpool City Champion
Tourism Minister Dan Tehan called on states and territories to implement a unified approach to admitting international travelers on their return later this month.
International tourists will be allowed to enter the country from February 21, after nearly two years of border closures, provided they have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
However, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has flagged the possibility of requiring tourists to also have had a booster shot in order to enter hospitality venues and major state events.
The move would align the measures for tourists with those for Victoria residents.
Mr Tehan said advice for tourists needing only two doses had been established by the country’s leading vaccine advisory group, ATAGI, and jurisdictions needed to be consistent.
“It will cause problems because there will be a different message,” he told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
“We call on all states and territories to follow the advice of ATAGI…this is what has been demanded of international students and backpackers.”
Mr Andrews said the state government would not seek to determine who enters the country, but wanted consistency.
“We will have the simplest and most efficient rules possible,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
“We will do whatever is appropriate at this time.
“We will do nothing that disadvantages the Victorian economy.”
Although there has been debate among medical experts and health chiefs about whether to change the definition of fully vaccinated to include a third dose, ATAGI stressed that two doses would be needed for travelers internationals enter the country.
Mr Tehan said the federal government would follow the advice of ATAGI and that of the chief medical officers.
“At the moment it’s two doses, it’s working very well to bring international students back,” he said.
“We need very clear advice to international tourists on the requirements… We should be out there selling that message loud and clear.”
Home Secretary Karen Andrews said the decision to reopen international borders to foreign travelers would benefit parts of the country that depend on tourism.
“(Closing the borders) was a very essential action to ensure that our communities were going to be very safe throughout the pandemic,” she said.
“But we were always aware that we needed to reopen those borders as soon as possible.”
Wednesday marked another deadly day for the pandemic across the country, with 70 deaths recorded.
Queensland recorded its highest daily death toll with 24 fatalities, while there were 21 in Victoria, 20 in New South Wales, two in South Australia and Tasmania and one in the ACT.
Nationally, 31,064 other infections have been reported, with New South Wales having more than 10,000 and 9,908 in Victoria, 6,902 in Queensland and 1,671 in South Africa.
Meanwhile, the Northern Territory had 1,128 infections, Tasmania had 574, the ACT had 475 and Western Australia had 94.
Australian Associated Press